A PARTNERSHIP between government and the private sector is expected to empower 5 000 women-owned maize farming cooperatives in the next five years.
On Thursday, Small Business Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu launched the Women-in-Maize initiative in partnership with the South African Breweries (SAB) and Agricultural Research Council in eKangala.
“The initiative seeks primarily to promote the inclusion of black women-owned cooperatives in SAB’s supply chain; develop skills of women farmers; improve food security and stimulate local economies by increasing procurement from local suppliers,” Zulu said.
She said the 11 selected farming enterprises, that are part of the initiative, will have an estimated R11 million in profits.
The Department of Small Business Development and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (sefa) has trained farmers on cooperative governance. Currently the farmers are also receiving business skills training.
“We are determined to encourage and support women across the length and breadth of our land to establish small businesses and cooperatives in order to change their lives for the better and also to contribute to the socio-economic development of our communities,” Zulu said.
The department has placed the issue of women empowerment high on its agenda.
“We are convinced that the economic empowerment of women will help us win the war against poverty, inequality, unemployment and abuse.
“Promoting women’s economic empowerment facilitates the achievement of other important public policy goals such as economic growth, human development and reduced violence,” she said.
Minister Zulu thanked SAB-Miller for its investment which included infrastructure, machinery and implements.
“We remain determined and committed to work with our private sector partners to build viable and thriving small businesses and cooperatives. We will not rest until all women of our land are economically empowered,” she said. – SAnews.gov.za